Who were the judges and how did they select the winners? What were they looking for in the entries? Rachel
Excellent question, Rachel. The judges are all published writers with strengths in the fields they judged.
To answer your next question, look to the right of this post. See “Pages?” Click on the specific category of your choosing. For instance, under poetry, you’ll discover this:
Be as specific as possible. Cut most abstract words from your poem; words like love, friendship, death.
Replace them with concrete words. Every line should have one concrete word in it. (A tree, a spider, a glob of glue . . .)
Those are two hints for you as to what the judges look for when they read a poem. (There are more on the page at right.) The poems that won were very specific.
A good exercise would be to take a poem and use the suggestions at right and make it better. Then submit it for publication . . and if you are still in middle school next year . . . submit it again to our contest. And write MORE for us. Remember, you can start writing now. Next January you can check our new guidelines and send as many submissions as you like until NEXT April 1.
Short Stories – I am one of the judges for two of the grades in short stories. Here is something that is helpful from the page:
Be specific. (Here’s that word again!) Change general words like nice, pretty, ugly, or mean. These are telling words. Replace them with action verbs or dialogue.
Example: Jenny was angry. The teacher gave her an F on her paper.
Re-Write: Jenny’s eyes flashed. The F gleamed big and red on top of her science test. Jenny clenched her hands so the paper crumpled. “I’ll get that teacher in trouble,” she said under her breath.
Essays/Personal Narrative There are several suggestions at the right, but here is one that I think is very helpful to you as you revise your piece, or write a new one:
Introduce your experience with humor, action, or emotion; then take your reader along on a journey of self-discovery. Concentrate on drama. Write scenes. Drop your reader right into what happened! Let your reader experience the event, moment by moment!
And really, for ALL writing, that last line says it all!